Community and Content Moderation in the Digital Public Hypersquare
This article in Tech Policy Press is the third in a series with Chris Riley (6/17/22)
Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
— Walt Whitman, Song of Myself
Current news is awash with acute concerns about social media content and how it is or is not moderated in the so-called “digital public square.” However, this is not really a single, discrete square, but is better seen as the “digital public hypersquare:” a hyperlinked environment made up of a multitude of digital spaces, much as the World Wide Web is a hyperlinked web made up of a multitude of websites.
Recognizing the multidimensionality and interconnected nature of these social squares (or spaces) can facilitate flexible, context-specific content modulation, as opposed to the blunter, less context-specific tool of moderation-as-removal. Instead of framing content policies as centralized, top-down policing — with all of that frame’s inherent associations with oppression, at one extreme, or anarchy, at the other — social media governance can be envisioned as a network of positive community-built, community-building layers, running in their own contextually appropriate ways, over the top of modern-day networks. This provides a new logic for diagnosing and beginning to treat how social media now exacerbate many of the disease symptoms that now present with increasing severity.
Efforts are already in the works to start layering community-centric approaches onto broader platforms… (more)
This is part of a continuing series of related essays by Reisman and Riley in Tech Policy Press:
- Delegation, Or, The Twenty Nine Words That The Internet Forgot
- Understanding Social Media: An Increasingly Reflexive Extension of Humanity
- Community and Content Moderation in the Digital Public Hypersquare